Chicago/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 15, 2024
Second Measles Case Hits Cook County Suburbs, Prompting Cautious Urgency Among Health OfficialsSource: Photo Credit:Content Providers(s): CDC/Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Health officials in Cook County have confirmed a second case of measles in the suburbs this year, sparking concerns about the potential spread of the infectious disease. The patient, an unvaccinated adult from Cicero, had frequented Super Mercado Torres on W. 25th St. during a period when they were infectious. According to CBS Chicago, exposures could have occurred on April 6, 7, 9, and 10 at specific hours detailed by the Cook County Department of Public Health.

There appears to be no direct link between this new instance and the prior outbreak in a Chicago migrant shelter, which was responsible for many of the 61 cases within the city limits, as CBS Chicago reported. Nonetheless, this second suburban case, less than a week after Chicago officials noted a significant decline in new infections, reminds us of the persistent vulnerability in pockets of unvaccinated communities.

Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, the Cook County Department of Public Health COO, conveyed a message of reassurance mixed with caution. "People who visited the market on these days should know that they are most likely safe from developing measles if they previously received two doses of MMR vaccine," he stated. However, he urged the unvaccinated or those presenting symptoms to seek immediate medical evaluation, according to a statement obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The reappearance of measles is particularly concerning given that these are the first reported cases in Chicago since 2019. Statewide, the number of confirmed measles cases has reached 64, with the majority concentrated in Chicago. The Cook County Health Department continues to emphasize the importance of vaccination, which has been provided through more than 14,000 doses administered in the city since March. The efforts to contain the outbreak have not only been focused on treatment but also on preventing further transmission by urging potential exposure victims to contact healthcare providers before entering medical facilities.

Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. With an incubation period that could extend up to 21 days, medical experts are cautious, understanding that any new case can be the fuse for a broader outbreak. This caution symbolizes a line held in defense of public health while it also underscores the challenges in a society where, despite medical advancements, age-old diseases find corridors through which to travel in the forms of misinformation and mistrust.